luckycanuck: (Default)

Cut for pics )

Since then I've been doing a lot of studying for my training qualifications, watching the Boxing Day Test (which was an outstanding back and forth affair that was finely balanced and could have gone either way until very late) visiting the beach, and having very little personal contact.  That's suiting me fine this time.  There is no feeling of isolation, in part because I have plenty on the horizon.
luckycanuck: (Default)

Yesterday I went to a film being screened by the Israeli Embassy on the anniversary of their independence.  It was called Turn Left at the End of the World.  You can watch the trailer and guess what it was about.  Dialogue was in English, French, and Hebrew.  Afterwards I stopped by some drinks that were being put on by a prominent lobbying firm for Parliamentary staff.  I don't know how much they spent, but I can't imagine they got value for their money.  There were heaps of staff drinking away, but I didn't speak to a single person from that firm.  Maybe they were just trying to spend money before the end of the tax year.  I was perfectly willing to help them by having a Heineken and some finger food.

I was able to handle the crowd there which suprised me a bit, though my eyes did glaze over when I got stuck conversing with a guy who is outstandingly dull.

I managed to get some song lyrics quoted in Parliament today.  W was making a speech and I gave him some words to drive the point home.  On the one year anniversary of the current Prime Minister pushing the former Prime Minister, W was making the point that things have gotten worse, and he chose to paraphrase a song that I recall my maternal Grandfather singing when I was very young.

"One year of this Prime Minister, and what did we get?  Another year older and deeper in debt."

He cited him Tennessee Ford rather than Tennessee Ernie Ford, but other than that, I grinned a bit when I heard it.

Parliament is going to be sitting later than normal for a Thursday tonight, though I don't really have to stay for it.  The politicians may be back tomorrow morning too, and there will be a work lunch afterwards that I might find some excuse not to attend.

This weekend I am committed to going to Sydney.  No waiting until the last minute to decide.  I'm going this time.
luckycanuck: (Kokoda tractor)

I left New York on Sunday morning for Philadelphia where I planned to spend a short time getting pushup photos before heading on to Baltimore.

Unfortunately, there were traffic delays so it looked like I would only have time to get to the art museum that was made famous in Rocky.  I collected my gear, got into a taxi, and said I wanted to go to my next destination via "the Rocky museum."  The driver said I could have one stop.  He refused to do both, and as my window was closing, I opted to give the museum a miss.  I thought it was petty in general, but the sheer surliness about they guy kind of pissed me off.  In the end I gave him a really small tip and came away with a negative view of Philadelphia taxi drivers.

Getting my next bus was worse.  I was booked on the 3:15 and got there to collect my ticket at 2:50 where I waited (though I did get photos on a Philadelphia street while I waited.)  No bus turned up at 3:15, and no announcement was made.  A group of us waited patiently only to find out that apparently the 3:15 had left on time from another gate without them telling us.  I was tring to find out when I could get going only to discover that the next one was at 5:15.  I could have gone to the Rocky museum and back having done some cool pushups in the meantime, but I found this out too late for this information to be any good.  I left Philadelphia in a bad mood with a universally bad impression of the place.

Additionally the bus itself stalled more than once and I considered the prospect that I might have to get out and push.

I made it to Baltimore about three hours late and quickly made arrangements to meet up with [ profile] back_track  who showed me a couple of bars in Baltimore. in what is apparently a very bar oriented city.  One place had about 100 beers on tap and another served us some National Bohemian, which is apparently Baltimore's cheap hipster beer.

I was feeling a bit down about leaving New York and didn't feel like making chit chat with strangers, but I did feel better after heading out into the world to adventure a bit more.  I made it to Fort McHenry where the American National Anthem was inspired during the War of 1812.  Of course, I would have been on the British side in that war, but there were no hard feelings.  The Brits bombarded the fort for 24 hours in September 1814.  I just walked in and did pushups.

I also did pushups on Federal Hill and in front of Babe Ruth's birthplace before packing off for Washington.

Apparently Baltimore is a poor city according to back_track but I liked it.  The people in bars were friendly, the taxi driver was the first taxi driver I've met in America who didn't seem consumed by annoyance, and the whole place seemed nicer.

Of the two cities, I preferred Baltimore... by far.

luckycanuck: (Mr Strong)

Breakfast today gave me the opportunity to try biscuits and gravy, which I will not be trying again.  I had a big breakfast, which I justifed by the fact that I had a solid workout (10 pullups, 10 chest contractions - 10 rounds and 50 shoulder press and 50 clean and press) followed by a run and some more snaps for pushups across America.

We met with another local environmental group and some students at a local law school who had done research into all the state wide propositions.  I am getting kind of tired of hearing about ballot propositions, and I think they are a bad idea as do all of the other Australian's I've spoken to.  Anything that can get enough signatures can become a yes or no question on the ballot no matter how complex or pandering it is.  I believe most of these things are better dealt with through the normal legislative process.  That is why we elect legislators in the first place.

We also met with a local union leader and talked about what his organisation does.  It was very interesting, and probably the least formal and most hands on meeting we have had so far.  He gave us all union t-shirts, which I will give to one of my Labor friends back in Australia.

The tour with the guys from the Speaker's office didn't happen on account of sudden developments, but we all went to the State Capitol anyway.  It was quite interesting to hear that the members all sit mixed up together rather than separated by party.  "Crossing the aisle" is just a euphemism here.

We also got some photos outside of the Governor's office.  I didn't get to meet Schwarzenegger, but I did the best I could do.

The uniformed state policeman outside the door was duly impressed, and gave me one of the Governor's business cards.  Nobody else in our group got one.  HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Afterwards I continued my endearing wierdness by going for a swim... in Sacramento... in October.

I chose not to have dinner with the others tonight.  I have to have time away from them.  So I went to a nice brew pub instead.  I grew up hearing about how awful American beer is, and while a lot of the mass market stuff is pretty bad, there is a lot of diversity.  More so than in Australia.  Also, wings were had as I watched the first game of the World Series.  (And the barman bought me a beer on account of the wings taking longer to come out than expected.)

I dozed off before heading back to the gym for another workout, as I won't be able to do so tomorrow when we will spend most of the day travelling to Orlando via Nashville.

TW: AMRAP 20 minutes - 10 shoulder press, 10 chest press, 10 pulldowns, 10 leg curls, 10 leg presses, 10 sit ups, 10 jump ropes. 10 rounds and shoulder and chest press.  I could only manage using all the machines when it was around midnight and nobody else was around.  Hooray!
luckycanuck: (Default)

Today we visited the organisers of our tour, the Alameda County Registrar of Voters, (where I decided that there is no reason to change the way Australians vote after finding out a bit more about the ramshackle system whereby one Congressional District can have as many voting systems as it has counties within it's boundaries) the Editorial Board of the Oakland Tribune, and the office of 77 year old Senator Dianne Feinstein, who has over seven times as many staff as W has (but then again, she represents a state with 37 million people) but viturally none of whom can do anything political.  The political work here seems to be done largely by professional political campaigners.  I seem to have a lot of questions I didn't know I had.

Afterwards I managed to withdraw some cash from the card they gave me, and found my way into Macy's, where I bought two pairs of jeans that were identical except for the colour.  America seems to have more jeans made for people who don't have bodies normally found on the singers of emo bands.  And they were cheap, and I got an additional 10% off using a card from the hotel... because I'm a bit cheap too.

Afterwards I avoided dinner with the others who went to Fisherman's Wharf (I went in 2008) and felt I would rather have my last night in San Francisco on my own.  Instead, I went to Zeitgeist to finish my tour of minxyminou suggestions.  It was interesting and I switched to a much better beer (Downtown Brown, a micorbrewery beer of which there seem to be many) but there was more of an insufferable hipster mood.  Change for my $4.50 beer from a $10 bill was given as five singles rather than a five, so I could easily tip the usual amount.  It's much easier when they make it simple to tip.  Afterwards there was dinner at a Mexican place that I spotted in 2008 but didn't eat at.  There was a long queue and a lot of good food to be had.  I've had more Mexican food here in three days than in the previous five years combined.

Pictures now.

Cut for space. )
luckycanuck: (Kokoda tractor)

I had half day at work yesterday and then took care of the last minute details before meeting Cupcake Goddess at a pub that has my favourite beer in all the world.  Hooray for Old Speckled Hen!

While we were talking, and idea for a photo theme was suggested to me.  I find that rather than just posing in front of landmarks with a blank expression or a wave, it's nice for holiday photos to have a theme.  When I was in Paris with the Wombats Parliamentary Rugby team, I spent a day taking our mascot around Paris taking photos with Wazza the Wombat and various Parisians.

(This 93 year old Frenchwoman was both confused and amused by my request.)

Given my interest in doing physical things, it was suggested that I should do pushups on the White House lawn.  I'm not sure if that was feasible given security requirements, but I said I would do pushups within view of the White House.  My friends insisted that I provide photographic evidence, and I just ran with the idea from there.

So I will be doing pushups across America.  Golden Gate Bridge?  Pushups.  Washington Monument?  Pushups.  Times Square?  Pushups.  I am sure I will get plenty of funny looks from people but I don't mind funny looks, and if nothing else, I reckon the people taking the photos will be unlikely to try to steal my camera.

After a lift to the airport, I'm all checked in and ready to go via Melbourne and Los Angeles to San Francisco.
luckycanuck: (Mr Happy)

Oktoberfest went very well.


Cut for pics )

For any of you who missed it, I just want to say I'm very disappointed in you.

luckycanuck: (Default)

Friday was a much quieter day, but even still, by the time I got home I wasn't sure if I was going to go to Sydney as planned.  In the end, I decided the things I was planning would be attended by enough interesting people to make it worth my while.  A glass of James Squire Amber Ale was had in the company of [ profile] the_engel  and others, including one guy who decided to engage in a debate over a political issue that I knew nothing about.  After a long drive and in a loud aspie stressful place, all I could manage to say was "I'm not interested in talking about this" before getting up an walking into the next room.

Today was the first day in quite a while where I had nothing to do.  Often that phrase is used as a complaint, but today it was welcome.  No appointments, no rugby, no duties, no obligations.

Of course, I did get up and run about 6km to the gym for a day of leg work.

TW: 100 leg presses, 100 openers, 100 closers, 100 kickbacks.

Then another 6km home.  I've got tired legs now.

I went down to the beach for my monthly swim in water that was quite cold, and also very calm and clear.  Ohhhhhhhhh it was awesome, and I nearly dozed off with a happy when I got home.

Tonight will be spent in the Collaroy Castle watching the Wallabies.

Also, the Convicts came in second in the Bingham Cup, losing 15-18 in the grand final against New York.

But the seconds won the Bingham Bowl.Cut for video with NSFW language. )
luckycanuck: (Maccabi)

It's been a physically intensive weekend, with two big workouts.

YW: 100 bench press, 100 dumbbell swings with 10 pullups every time the dumbbell touched the floor, 100 leg openers and 100 closers at maximum weight, row 400 metres then 20 pushups then 20 SDHP - 5 rounds.

Then I met up[ with Cupcake Goddess who had kindly saved me her last piece of pizza (very welcome given my post workout hunger.)  We talked about work and her househunting escapades and things are going quite well for both of us it seems.  I also shopped for Terminator stuff for my fancy dress night.  I had most things I needed, but picked up some cheap sunnies (I never buy expensive ones as I know I'm just going to end up sitting on them or losing them somewhere) and a gun that looked suitable.  The $2 dollar store had quite a few fancy dress people in it.

And I think I wound up putting together something quite passable.

Click here if you want to live. )
Today there was no silly dressing up, but some sore muscles and another trip to the gym.

TW: 50 standing shoulder press, HIIT (total of 140 lateral jumps and 100 dynamic pushups), Core - 20 situps, 20 leg raises, 1 minute of plank - 5 rounds, then 100 side dips with 20kg.

Then a long sweat in the sauna.  Tonight I will recover in the hopes of another big week of physical fun.
luckycanuck: (convicts rugby)

I got a very good response on the snarky e-mail I sent Friday regarding the sound at the rugby.  Apparently they turned the sound on about 60 seconds after I left.  Still, the fact that there was even a question was surprising to me.

Saturday I slept off much of the last week and then went to the gym.  I've not had a good workout for a while and I wanted to get back to the gym with a vengeance.

YW: AMRAP 10 dumbbell swings, 10 handstand pushups for 10 minutes.  Then deadlifts and shoulder presses, 40-10, 30-20, 20-30, 10-40.  I was getting very lightheaded towards the end.  I hadn't eaten for a whle and think my blood sugar was low.  One of the trainers said I looked like hell.  Perhaps he was right.

I spent the rest of the evening visiting [ profile] bakerypenguin  and watching a documentary on an insane Dutch man who ran a marathon wearing only shorts and sandals in -16 degrees in Finland.  He seemed a very unpleasant person, and his wife was about the most tolerant person I've ever seen.

I shopped on Sunday.  The shake up in my career prospects has inspired me to look professional, so I picked up some new whirts for work, but true to type, I got things that I can get away with not ironing.  Because I am a lazy man.  Also the fact that I got them considerably cheaper than I would have at Myer or David Jones by going to Trade Secret is a bit of a bonus for me.  I find it very satisfying to think that I have gotten a bargain.  Ripping off the retail industry (in a legal way) is fun.

TW:  I was more prepared today, and had a big session.  Floor wipers, push ups, bench jumps with a 10kg medicine ball, pull ups - sets of 30, 20, 20, 20, 10.  Then row 400m, 40 leg presses - 5 rounds.

I was just floating around on an endorphin high afterwards and had a good long sweat in the sauna.  I'm back!

Perhaps the beard I have grown over the last week (on account of the stitches) has had a Samsonesque impact on me.  Does anyone have any Philistines they need someone to slay?

Tonight dinner (an enormous chicken parmagiana and a lovely Matilda Bay dark lager at the Durham which generally has a diverse and varying range of beers) was had with Gundachick who is now unemployed.  There was career talk aplenty.  I'm feeling much more confident about my prospects than I was when we last spoke.
luckycanuck: (Default)
I was out having some drinks with friends yesterday and came across a beer with a rather unusual name.

Big Ass.

It's 9% and as it is a barley wine (a style of strong ale) it makes sense that it was served in a wine glass.  It was also delicious.  It was a kind of reddish brown and a tiny bit sweet.  The alcohol hit me a few minutes after I started sipping.  My glass wound up doing the rounds after people inquired about it.  I'm still a bit sniffly but nobody seemed to care (or they didn't notice.)

It reminded me of living in England when I was told I had "old man taste in beer."  I still like ales, but you don't get exposed to much of that in Australia.  It's almost entirely lager here.

Today I had my last training/break in the new shoes run before Sunday.  I'm happy with the new shoes.  People say you have to break them in over a couple of weeks or have at least four runs in them, but I'm happy to go ahead with them as they are.  They gave me no grief at all.  Now if I can just get over the dregs of this cold I will be all set.

I got smashed on the market a bit today.  PVE, (an Australian outfit pumping natural gas in Italy which I invested in after it dropped heavily recently) flattened out before dropping half of it's value again today.  There was bad news in one of their gas fields but I thought it was an overreaction.  Or maybe it's got further to go.  Not sure what to do with this one yet, but I feel pretty unpanicky about the whole thing.  I also sold my shares in Woolworths which has been pretty flat since I bought it.  Now I don't have to feel compelled to shop there.


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